Can you transfer Windows 7 to another hard drive?
What does it mean when you say transfer Windows 7 to new hard drive? Generally, the way to transfer an operating system currently means to clone system partition (direct) or backup & restore system (indirect) to another place.
To be specific, you move operating system files, boot files, all files and installed programs on C drive to another partition of a different disk. Then, you can boot into the same Windows 7 operating system from the target hard disk, with better experience or shorter boot up time usually.
Well, what exactly can you benefit from migrating Windows 7 to new hard drive?
Upgrade old hard drive. This might be the most common reason for system migration. As covered before, run operating system on a new disk, SSD in particular, would bring better user experience.
Expand disk space. Low disk space warning might appear when more and more files been created and applications been installed. It may affect the use of Windows 7 OS in the worst case. Transferring Windows 7 to larger disk can easily solve this issue.
Use SSD for OS and HDD for storage. Many users choose to install OS on SSD and use hard disk drive for data storage, which is actually a very efficient arrangement for making use of different disk types.
Make a backup. Create a duplication of Windows 7 system on other places is a good disaster recovery solution.
Powerful tool to copy Windows 7 to new hard drive
Windows 7 to new hard drive migration can be realized through three ways, that will be introduced in detail in following parts.
First of all, you need to download the free disk cloning software AOMEI Backupper Standard edition. This powerful cloning software will help you complete Windows 7 migration in following guides, with its Disk Clone and System Backup features.
Install it on your computer and then refer to the step-by-step guide below.
Move Windows 7 to new hard drive with free ways
This part will show two free methods to migrate Windows 7 to another HDD or SSD. Find the most suitable method for you.
Way 1. Clone a hard drive in Windows 7
This method will clone the hard drive that installed Windows 7 entirely including all partitions to another new hard drive.
1. Connect or install the new hard drive to your computer and make sure it can be detected. You may need an SATA-to-USB adapter if there is only one disk bay.
2. Make sure the new hard drive is large enough to all data on the current disk. You can also reduce volume data by deleting useless files or uninstalling unnecessary applications.
1. Open AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Clone and then Disk Clone.
2. Select the source disk (i.e. the Windows 7 hard drive).
3. Select the target disk (i.e. the new hard drive).
4. Before you start the cloning, you can edit partitions, check SSD alignment and specify cloning method. Then, you can let it start.
5. Click Finish when it finishes.
Edit partitions: you are allowed to specify partition sizes, labels, etc. Some options are only available in advanced versions.
SSD Alignment: it is suggested to check this option to improve performance when the target disk is SSDs.
Sector by sector clone: by checking this option, AOMEI Backupper will clone every sector to the target disk, no matter it is used or not. Do not check it when cloning larger drive to smaller drive.
This Standard edition only supports same partition style cloning, i.e. GPT to GPT and MBR to MBR.
Boot up notes:
There are two ways to boot up Windows 7 on new hard drive.
1. (Recommended) Shut down your PC and remove the source disk. Install the newly cloned hard drive on the machine. Start up your PC.
2. Restart your PC and press Del (or F2, or F12) to enter BIOS. Change boot priority to the new hard drive and press F10 to save and start.
Way 2. Backup and restore Windows 7 operating system
This method will tell you how to perform backup system and restore on new hard drive. More manual operations are involved than other methods.
Preparation: Install AOMEI Backupper Standard on your computer.
Part 1. Create system image for Windows 7
Open AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Backup and then System Backup. Next, follow the wizard to complete the backup. Make sure you stored the backup image on a path where can be accessed easily.
Part 2. Restore Windows 7 on new hard drive
In AOMEI Backupper Standard, click Restore and then Select Task. Select the task you just created. At the step of selecting destination path, choose Restore to a new location, and then navigate to the new hard drive.
Part 3. Start up Windows 7 on new hard drive
Shut down your PC when the restoring finishes. You can load Windows 7 from the new disk through one of the two ways mentioned in Way 1.
To restore Windows 7 system image to new computer with dissimilar hardware, please upgrade to advanced editions.
To restore a failed computer, you'll need to create a bootable media on a work PC in advance.
Clone Windows 7 to new hard drive directly (advanced & easier)
This part will introduce an advanced way to clone Windows 7 to another drive directly, with AOMEI Backupper Professional edition, the advanced edition of AOMEI Backupper Standard.
You can clone operating system to another drive in a few clicks with this professional cloning software.
The steps of this method is similar to the Way 1 above, and the difference between them is this method only clone system and its boot related drive to target disk. Other data partitions will be excluded.
Preparation: Install or connect the new hard drive to your machine, and make sure it can be detected.
1. Open AOMEI Backupper Professional, click Clone and then System Clone.
2. Select the target drive since the system drives is selected by default.
3. Before it starts cloning, you can check SSD alignment and sector by sector clone method. Then, start the process.
4. Click Finish when it completes.
Boot up notes: you can follow one of the two boot up methods in Way 1 to start Windows 7 from the new hard disk.
Three ways on how to clone Windows 7 to new hard drive are listed above. After that, you can also use the old drive as a secondary storage.
To be honest, AOMEI Backupper is quite helpful in data migration due to its lucid user interface and ease of use. No technical skills or knowledge required for users.
It is suggested to keep the software installed after cloning, and safeguard your computer files with automated file backup/sync solution. Save time and effort.